OSU BME Seminar Series: Dr. Julie Lim, University of Auckland
Julie Lim, PhD
Department of Physiology
University of Auckland
"THERAPEUTIC INSIGHTS INTO DELAYING THE ONSET OF CATARACTS"
The lens of the eye contains a robust antioxidant defence system to minimize oxidative stress and preserve lens structure and function. Glutathione (GSH) in the lens exists at high concentrations. However, with advancing age, GSH levels deplete specifically in the lens nucleus initiating a chain of events that ultimately result in protein aggregation, light scattering and age-related nuclear cataract. However, antioxidant supplementation has generally been ineffective in preventing or delaying cataract indicating that a better understanding of the delivery, uptake and metabolism of GSH in the different regions of the lens is required. In this talk, I will highlight some of the key findings from our laboratory which include discovery of the lens microcirculation system for delivering antioxidants to the lens nucleus, identifying transporters involved in the uptake of GSH and its precursor amino acids and the development of animal models that mimic cataracts that can be used to test compounds that replenish GSH levels and preserve lens transparency. Given our currently aging population, this information is critical towards developing scientifically informed approaches that target the delivery of GSH to the lens nucleus to prevent age-related cataract.
Dr Julie Lim graduated from the University of Auckland with a BSc, MSc and then PhD in Biological Sciences in 2004. Following her PhD, she was offered a post-doctoral position in the Molecular Vision Laboratory to study the lens of the eye and investigate the mechanisms involved in cataract formation, the leading cause of blindness in the world. She now is a Senior Lecturer in the Dept. Physiology and leads her own research group investigating the contribution of oxidative stress to a number of different age-related eye diseases that affect the different tissues of the eye including the lens, the retina and the cornea. She was awarded the Zonta Women in Science Award and more recently the National Foundation for Eye Research Cataract Award,